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Sean Costello: What Amp?

Shnook

Silver Supporting Member
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4,726
All this said, I'd be interested in knowing how much Sean used the Vibrolux Reverb? Also, how often did he use the Supa-Trem vs. on board amp vibrato?
 

stephenT

Member
Messages
2,471
interesting thread,
stephen, you are right about Matt's jazzmaster. Sean had it for a while but then there were issues with it holding tune and the other things. It was a prototype guitar built to sean's personal specs. So the design wasnt super stable I suppose. They had a personal rift and the deal was off - sean returned the guitar to Matt and Matt left town. There was also a 64 lincoln continental and a 61 bandmaster head in on that deal. Sean wasnt happy with the way it went down, but was over it in no time. That's just the way he was.
Hey there CV!

If any knows the extent and models of Sean's amp usage it's centervolume.

Sean used the Supa-Trem for that really fast tremolo stuff he did on Robert Ward's "Your Love is Amazing" (who used a Magnatone vibrato for that sound) and I hear it on several of the songs on "We Can Get Together". I've heard him use the amp's tremolo on stage but he did like the Supa-Trem I suspect because of it wide range of adjustment.
 
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Jason Lollar

Member
Messages
92
Heres for anyone that cares to know a little more about Sean costellos rig.
I have been waiting to hear from a tech that did the work on this since we talked about it a couple month’s + ago.
I finally reheard the story about this today and it is how I recall it too- maybe theres hope for my memory yet!
Seans original goldtop had another pickup makers P-90s in it- I don’t know why he didn’t like them- who knows. The original pickups including the original wiring harness had been stashed away, the neck pickup was shorted out. It would be easy to assume he just wanted the originals working again and maybe he didn’t dislike the other guys pickups- that would make sense too.
I reworked the neck pickup and sent it back- it was a little too hot and snarly so I offered to do it again but I told them to send me the bridge pickup too so I could match them up better. His comment was he wanted a “wispier sound”. While I was at it I made a set that was an exact copy of the originals- those went immediately into his reissue. That said I had already been making low output P-90s before I saw Seans, its not uncommon for P-90s to read 6 to 7.5K. All this was back in late 2004.
I also made a set of jazzmasters that he used on 1/3rd to 1/2 a recording that is not released and may never be.
That’s the story I got and its what I recall and I also recall talking to sean several times. I remember he was in NYC playing some club and he was lamenting the price of a drink was $18.
My experience is the artist doesn’t always know or pay much attention about what they have in their guitar- a lot of guys just have the tech take care of it and they just play.
Possibly the other stories are what those guys were told or maybe they did additional work at some other time, who knows. When you have multiple repair guys- whose going to know all the details?
Maybe he put something else in there later but he had mine in there for a few years from what I know. Of course he knew how to testify so what he had in there- he would have sounded good with anything, having what you want in there is just like working with nice comfortable tools.
Apparently there are a couple recordings that may never be released- too bad, he had something going on. I really like the more soul kind of stuff he did, simple twist of fate, love is amazing, Im a ram, he was badd asss.
 

Celticdave

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Platinum Supporting Member
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5,287
"It bothered Sean that Lollar was calling his low output P90 the "Sean Costello wind", when I bought a set from Lollar for Sean's T90, Jason said he'd been doing that wind for awhile, called his '50's P90,... so many stories,... but after that they became the Sean wind."

Actually I call those my 50's winds but I never had an official 50's wind set untill Sean sent me his pickups from his original goldtop.
Of course I have been aware that alot of 40's and 50's P-90s are low output but my 50's set was developed from Seans goldtop. I talked to Sean and Matt many times on the phone and did whatever they required in the time they gave me to do it because i really liked what he was doing.

If Sean was pissed about something I never heard about it and if he was it was some sort of misunderstanding- probably second hand comments from someone who didnt know or misunderstood the story if that really happened.
I would add if you call and ask for the sean costello wind- youll get my 50's set- i always gave Sean credit for inspiring that set with his original goldtop- nowhere will you see them advertised as Sean Costello wind- do you???

So your right- too many stories :)

Its a real shame hes gone.
Yeah, not to turn this into a pro-Lollar thread but I've been talking with Jason lately about my own tone and he's an upstanding guy. I couldn't imagine anything like that ever happening.

To get back to the main post though, I think we can try to wrap our heads (and hands) around what Mr. Costello was using but in reality, if we want to get closer to his tone, the only way to do that is spend more time with your guitar honing the craft.

Its true that a great guitarist can make just about anything sound incredible. Hey, I love my Lollars and my Les Paul but I hope I sound like myself when I pick up any guitar.

Also, maybe we should look at the amps he was using collectively? Maybe if we can pinpoint the qualities he listened for in an amp, we'll be able to better reproduce that warm sound?
 

bluesbreaker59

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,756
By the way there is an older Guitar One magazine with a small article on Sean in it, like a 6 question thing. It was printed about the time that the self entitled cd came out, and in there it mentions that Sean's reissue goldtop had Fralins, also mentions the amps he used. I was recently going through my old magazines and getting rid of some and stumbled across this. This was the only interesting piece in the magazine so I tossed it, but nonetheless it was in there. I believe it was a March issue and it was in the Blues News section or something like that.
 

Shnook

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,726
Funny that this thread should pop back up again as I was thinking about it last night. I was on Youtube watching some of Sean's videos and it looked to me that he was using a different amp for most all of them. Some had him playing vintage Fender's, some current production model Fender's, the Goodsell amp.... Of course, to my ears the best tone he was getting was with his '53 thru vintage Fender's, with the Goodsell being my second favorite. I imagine a lot of times he just used what was available at each show or something cheap and easy to travel with. Regardless of his gear, it was the musician and his soul that came thru and touched people.
 

stephenT

Member
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2,471
There was more than one, but I think the last one was a 212. Stephen T kept up with his rigs better than I did. The earliest was a 6v6 22.
It's true, I was there, it's not second hand info.

(Actually) Sean started his Goodsell amp collection with a Goodsell Clairmont Super 17, #0015 (1x12), I own that amp now. Bill Sheffield recently used it to record tracks on his new CD.

His second Goodsell was a red Goodsell Delux 22 (2x12) w/ 4x6v6s. I own that amp as well, Richard did some mods to it and my son Max is playing it in Athens, GA.

Sean's last Goodsell was the brown 33 Custom (2x10) and Sean's family has that amp.

On recordings Sean used whatever was around, Sean's good friend and band mate Paul is a vintage amp aficionado. Old Fenders, Gibsons, Silvertones and Magnatones abound.

Sean used that guitar i built for him the last year of his life (along with his beloved goldtops), that guitar turned into my t90 model, a thinline with a p90 neck and a tele bridge pickup. It started out with Lollars in both positions, a set that was put together for this particular guitar after a couple conversations I had on the phone w/ Lollar. As soon as we strung it up we knew it needed something else in the bridge position, it was way too thin and bright for Sean's use. I had been talking to David Budz about pickups for future products and got him to send out one of his purebreed tele bridge pickups next day, i slapped it in and Sean loved it, that's how that guitar stayed, one Lollar, one Budz and that will never change. That shoreline gold t90 is buried with Sean. I have the strap Sean used on that guitar hanging above my work bench.

Sean's next build from me was to be a solid "t" style w/ two p90s and a (shorter) conversion scale neck. Sean had several conversations with David Budz on the road about what he wanted and what he liked and was excited about the next guitar with two Budz p90s. We talked about this guitar in the last conversation we had on this earth (we've since talked and hung out in my dreams) the Saturday night before at dinner with Sean, myself and my wife. I haven't been able to do anything with that project since Sean's passing.

Sean never ended up with the guitar that Lollar mentions w/ jazzmasters. Once that guitar was finally completed, Sean had a problem with the strings slipping out of the saddles and he wasn't able to play it for any period of time. Around the same time Sean's relationship with the guitar tech who built the guitar and worked for Sean for a bit, disintegrated. The guitar tech moved back home with the guitar he'd built for Sean. It was after that project fell apart that Sean and I started talking about the guitar I eventually built for him.

All of Sean's recordings are being archived by the family and foundation. If you want to know about future releases, talk to the Sean Costello Memorial Fund for Bipolar Research, they have much better info.

http://www.seancostellofund.org/index.html

The most recent release, is a stunning 20 track collection of material from Sean's Landslide days. These tracks cover Sean from around age 16 (when I met him) to around 26. It's an amazing collection and one song, "Motorhead Baby" gives folks an idea of what a live Costello show was like. You can hear the excitement build in the room as the song goes on, when the solo section comes Sean pushes the audience to a frenzy. "Double Trouble" is amazing as well. Please buy this CD! You'll treasure it and a portion goes to the SC fund.

 
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BBender

Member
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1,878
"I'm a Ram"!!!!!! F*$#in awesome!!! Love that R.B. tune.


I don't agree at all. The tone on the clip linked above is very average and nothing to get excited about at all. If that was THE example of a vintage Les Paul Gold Top I'd say no thanks, doesn't do it for me at all.

Now check out this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nrkv5ey1Oq4&feature=related

Or this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPmIPaWdChU&feature=related

Now that is tone to knock your socks off! :dude

It completely blows away the tone of that first clip. He didn't always sound like that. I don't know what amp he was using at that gig at the Crossroads Cafe but those are the best clips I've ever seen of him. He was on fire! His playing and his tone is incredible, and unmatched.
 

flyingvees

Member
Messages
1,986
One of my favorite memories of Sean was when myself, Sean and Matt Wachoup were hanging out at Ray's in west palm beach and there was a band playing that was more on the rock side of things but there were a few girlies we were eyeing so the idea came up that we should jam. Well I had my guitar there since I was the house band but Sean didnt have his axe. The band agreed to let us jam and the guitar hands Sean his strat which we found out then had a Kahler, 9's and the lowest action I ever saw. Well when we got done with three songs Sean handed the guitar back to the guy with two or three strings left on it...:D Sean was and will always be my friend and I miss him terribly.:eek:

Also somewhere in the files I have a version of myself and Sean doing Double Trouble that is killin...The night we recorded that he had just gotten the '53 and he told me that he traded his CS Tele and his old 335 amongst other things and I couldnt believe it until he plugged that lester in and proceeded to burn the house down.
 

Shnook

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,726
One of my favorite memories of Sean was when myself, Sean and Matt Wachoup were hanging out at Ray's in west palm beach and there was a band playing that was more on the rock side of things but there were a few girlies we were eyeing so the idea came up that we should jam. Well I had my guitar there since I was the house band but Sean didnt have his axe. The band agreed to let us jam and the guitar hands Sean his strat which we found out then had a Kahler, 9's and the lowest action I ever saw. Well when we got done with three songs Sean handed the guitar back to the guy with two or three strings left on it...:D Sean was and will always be my friend and I miss him terribly.:eek:

Also somewhere in the files I have a version of myself and Sean doing Double Trouble that is killin...The night we recorded that he had just gotten the '53 and he told me that he traded his CS Tele and his old 335 amongst other things and I couldnt believe it until he plugged that lester in and proceeded to burn the house down.
Great stories!!! Can you tell us more about the '53 Goldtop? When did he start using it?
 

Celticdave

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Great stories!!! Can you tell us more about the '53 Goldtop? When did he start using it?
I second that! I love that Sean gets so much attention here at TGP. Let's just hope that pours over into the mainstream as well. I'm always introducing his music to people who otherwise may not had heard of him - sad!
 

flyingvees

Member
Messages
1,986
Hard to remember what year exactly but it seems to me that it was somewhere between 99-02. We played a show together at the Bamboo Room in Lake Worth and he had just gotten it. His 335 was a killer and I really liked his Tele but he said he knew that when he saw that 53 it was meant to be. Another funny Sean story is and I may have told this one before but the first time I met Sean he played in South Florida at Rays and had Susan with him. They were dating and he asked the club owner Ray if he would pay her 100.00 to sing with the band. Ray didnt want to pay but said he would if she was really good. Well the place filled up and I noticed alot of folks were asking if Susan was with Sean tonight. First song she does "Aint nobody's buisness" and Ray had the extra hundo ready for Sean. I also have a special place in my heart when I think about the few times I got to see Sean with Paul Linden who I think is CenterVolume on here. Those two had the dynamic that great duo's have and they always had it. I had that same dynamic with Jason Ricci when we first started New Blood but sadly we lost it but somehow Paul and Sean never did. Paul I hear is working with the Notorious Big Al and the Heavyweights so check him out for outstanding Harmonica playing, tone and taste.
 

stephenT

Member
Messages
2,471
Sean and his step Dad got that goldtop from Frank Moats at Atlanta Vintage Guitars. Frank said it was the best goldtop he ever touched and thought of Sean. I think late 1999 is about right. Sean had it for awhile when he started playing with my Sunday Night thing at Northside Tavern in early 2000.

Here's a photo I took in '05 of the Goldtop in Sean's backyard. It was pretty clean when he first got it, so here's 5-6 years of use from the most corrosive hands I've ever seen. (Which is more like 30 years use from a normally ph balanced person).

 

jjboogie

Supporting Member
Messages
3,782
Yes Sean had the sweatiest hands in the world!!!!

You would always just see sweat marks all over the fretboard when he played.

It was like footprints!!! : )

He sounded amazing on any guitar he touched!

I seen him play on Acoustics, Archtops, Tele's, Strat's, Les Paul's.....he made everything sound phenomenal.

His voice was all in his hands and soul!
 

stephenT

Member
Messages
2,471
yours truly, Jon Liebman and Sean w/ Goldtop and that Gibby amp at Northside on a Sunday night. Taken in (maybe) late 2000. (yeah, I know, it's a strat,... don't know what I was thinking)

 

valcotone

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,934
I may have posted this before... but it's great... here's an MP3 clip from a gig in Dallas in October 2005. He was playing his '53 GT and the Gibson Rhythm King picture above. I recorded the whole 3-hour gig and will post it somewhere if I can...

Big thanks stephenT and flyingvees for sharing your stories and pics!
 
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Shnook

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,726
GREAT pics Stephen!!! Love the old Gibson amp pic! Any idea where that amp is now?
 




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